Margaret Boyer is a local woman from Batchewana First Nation, who finds her purpose in cooking for the community.
What started out as a lunch program through the Batchewana Health Centre, has turned into a community, volunteer-run program as a result of the pandemic shutting down their kitchen, and associated funding.
Batchewana Councilor, Mark McCoy, thought it an important program that should continue throughout the pandemic, and now personally funds the weekly lunch program.
Margaret’s older brother, Steve, taught her how to cook. “I moved in with him, and the first beef-stew I made was the grossest thing ever,” Margaret shares with a laugh, “I just started watching him. It was pretty basic stuff, once you know the flavours, and what needs to be in there, you can just throw it in, but I do use his bannock recipe.”
The kitchen was filled with the smell of sweet fry-bread and hearty chili that had been cooking all morning. Margaret floats around the kitchen, a trail of flour follows her, she’s in the zone; the kitchen floor never stood a chance.
“I like working, I have to keep busy. I have ADHD and if I’m not working, I’m in trouble,” Margaret mentions as she consolidates the trail of baking ingredients on the kitchen floor into a neat pile in the corner.
Margaret spent her early life in and out of foster care, and eventually ran away to the west coast. She called Santa Cruz, California, home for many years, following the Grateful Dead around while they toured the USA.
Her love for Jerry Garcia is matched only by her love for feeding the masses.
With the lunches now packed and ready by the door, we waited for the volunteers to pick up the meals for distribution.
On top of the 40 meals packed and ready for delivery, Margaret pulls out a great big pot of chilli she was keeping warm in the oven to bring to SOYA. Margaret volunteers a lot of her time volunteering and supporting Connie Raynor-Elliot’s organization, SOYA (Save Our Young Adults). This downtown volunteer-run organization provides a safe space for people in the community to come for support and to have their various needs met, whether it is clothing, household items, or a warm meal.
These meals are for everyone and anyone who wants one. If you wish to donate your time or money to this awesome weekly lunch program, please message Margaret Boyer or Mark McCoy, and join the Facebook group.